Beit Shemesh is Israel's fastest growing major city over the past decade, the Central Bureau of Statistics reports. At the end of 2018, Beit Shemesh had a population of 118,676, 62.3% up from 72,700 at the end of 2008. In contrast, Bat Yam's population decreased by 1,500 over the same period (about 1%) to 129,000.
Israel's second fastest growing city between 2008 and 2018 was Bnei Brak, where the population grew by 31.2%. This year Bnei Brak's population is set to pass 200,000. Israel's third fastest growing city during this period was Ashkelon, which now has 141,000 residents. Between 2008 and 2018, Rehovot grew by 27.4% to 142,000, while Petah Tikva grew by 22% to 244,000.
Jerusalem, Israel's largest and capital city, grew by 21% over this period to nearly 1 million. 40% of Jerusalem's residents are Arabs compared with 37% in 2008 and 30% in 1995. Israel's second largest city - Tel Aviv - grew at a much more modest pace to 451,523 at the end of 2018.
Israel's two largest cities in peripheral regions - Haifa and Beersheva - have demonstrated slow growth over the past. Haifa continues to be Israel's third largest city but grew only 7% between 2008 and 2018 to 284,000. Beersheva, the capital of the Negev, for many years was Israel's fourth largest city, but today with a population of 209,000, it is Israel's eighth largest city and has been overtaken by Ashdod as the largest city in southern Israel.
Two Israeli cities - Herzliya and Hadera - with a population of over 95,000, are expected to join the 100,000 club in the next few years.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on November 11, 2019
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